Archive for Creative Prompts
What do you do with the things you’ve placed inside the pocket of your journal? Do they stay inside the pocket, or do you in some way adhere them to a blank page? I usually don’t glue things in the journals I use for daily writing, but I do use a lot of glue in what I call my “Inspiration Books” where interesting images are cut from magazines and advertisements and are then arranged by color, subject or what have you. Some people call such books, “Glue Books”
Do you have a favorite adhesive? My favorite has been the Yes! paste. A little goes a long way and things stay affixed and flat. I typically apply it with a small brush that has been dipped in a small amount of water,
Want some tips on choosing the right adhesive? Check out these links:
All About Adhesive at Scrapbooking 101
Want to learn more about gluebooks?
Find a book. Find some glue. Find some things to glue. Glue with reckless abandon!
From How Discovering Gluebooks Changed My Life at Go Make Something
Glue-Booking at The Art Journal Community
Pencil or pen in your hand, we know there are words making their way onto the page in one form or another, every day in every way.
What are you writing?
In your Webbie: Do you keep a diary noting daily events? A journal filled with personal reflections? A notebook filled with favorite quotes? A sketch diary? A dream journal next to the bed to document your nocturnal travels?
Is your No. 8 almost empty from jotting down shopping lists for trips to the local farmers market? Lists of wines to buy again stuck behind a magnet on the refrigerator? Notes to UPS to leave the package with a neighbor?
Do you use the Unlimited notebook you keep in the glove box to keep track of the business mileage on your car? To record rare bird sightings at the local conservatory? Write down books read, books to read?
Are you taking full advantage of the 16×12″ No. 38 by sketching out your dream house? New garden? Mind mapping a new business idea to start a pay-what-you-can-afford restaurant?
Maybe you use a No. 18 yellow legal pad to take notes at meetings? Brainstorm new project ideas over a brown bag lunch? Or maybe you are reworking your resume or drafting a cover letter for that job you really want?
Using the No. 16 to write a bio for that online dating service? A new poem for tomorrow night’s spoken word event? For sketching the old woman sleeping on the subway? Crafting a new menu for the week?
All this and more… What are you writing?
Is writer’s block real? What do you think causes it? And what are your favorite ways to move through it? I’m not sure I have experienced it in the way others have spoken about it. When I get stuck on one thing, I simply shift to the next. By working on a myriad of creative projects at any one time, this typically frees up energy surrounding the “block” and permits the mind to relax enough for the ideas, words, etc., to begin to flow again.
Need some inspiration to get over the hump?
One of my favorite ways to move through the “stuck” is by doodling. (For me, this simple exercise of mindless mark making ended up becoming a foundational element in an entire career based on creativity.) Doodling engages the brain and helps to calm a restless mind. Doodling helps focus our attention which can in theory, help you break through writer’s block.
In this quick TED Talk, author and visual thinker Sunni Brown argues that doodling not only helps people stay mentally focused on the topic at hand, it also improves their ability to process information, and enhances our creative problem-solving.
There’s nothing like a new journal for a new year. Was one of your holiday gifts a new journal? Need help getting started? Here’s a few ideas on how to use it:
You can use it as a personal diary, which would include entries arranged by date, reporting on what has happened over the course of a day, week, etc. A personal diary might include personal experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings. It may also include comments on current events outside your direct experience
You can use it as a commonplace book- essentially a handwritten scrapbook filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, proverbs, prayers, etc. Commonplace books are useful as an aid in remembering useful concepts or facts, and each book becomes unique to its owners particular interests.
You could use your new journal as an urban sketchbook – one where you practice drawing on location in cities, towns and villages you live in or travel to. (Take a look at the Urban Sketchers Flickr Pool for inspiration.)
The purple journal shown above is a Rhodiarama Webbie. These notebooks are available in two sizes: Large 5 ½ x 8 ¾ ” & Pocket 3 ½ x 5 ½ ” and in 15 colors: Black, Chocolate, Taupe, Beige, Anise, Turquoise, Sapphire, Iris, Purple, Lilac, Raspberry, Poppy, Tangerine, Orange & Yellow
Did you know that ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the beginning of each new year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts?
Tell us your thoughts on New Year’s resolutions. Do you make them? Typically keep them? This time each year, I make what I call a Manifestation List. On this list, I include a variety of situations I wish to manifest- from the kind of person I want to be, (compassionate, mindful, disciplined) to more goal specific desires. (Write successful grant proposals, attend more online classes.)
According to a study by the University of Scranton/Journal of Clinical Psychology, the Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 were:
1 Lose Weight
2 Getting Organized
3 Spend Less, Save More
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5 Staying Fit and Healthy
6 Learn Something Exciting
7 Quit Smoking
8 Help Others in Their Dreams
9 Fall in Love
10 Spend More Time with Family
According to their study, the percentage of resolutions able to be maintained through the first week of the year was 75%. Past two weeks 71%, past one month 64% and past six months 46%.
In a 2007 study from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends. (from Wiki)
5 businesses that profit from New Year’s resolutions at Market Watch
Top 10 Healthiest New Year’s Resolutions at Health.com
Aside from keeping a diary when I was a pre-teen, I didn’t really start putting pen to paper until mid September of 2005. I am able note the exact moment in time because I remember making a special trip to Blick to purchase a fancy notebook and pen just for this purpose. (And then there’s this: The day after I bought the journal, I sat and talked with a psychic woman at a local holistic expo who distinctly told me that I needed to get myself a journal and and ink pen and start writing. <– Not making this up.)
The first entries in that book listed crazy dreams, noted the end of one creative phase (jewelry making) and the start of another. (hand drumming) I wrote about the decline of my dog’s health and a job promotion that wasn’t working out for me. That journal quickly became a trusted friend. The action of writing in it about whatever was important to me in the moment, became my therapy.
If you need any encouragement on why it’s a good idea to put pen to paper, check out the articles at the links below.
26 Reasons Why I Keep a Journal (And Why You Should, Too) at Huffington Post
“I can yell in my journal and no one will hear me raise my voice”
How to Journal in 10 Simple Steps at Journaling Saves
“Words, on a page. It’s really that simple.”
30 Days to a Better Man Day 8: Start a Journal at The Art of Manliness
“Why Keep a Journal? Your children and grandchildren will want to read it.”
Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary at Brain Pickings
“Journaling, I believe, is a practice that teaches us better than any other the elusive art of solitude — how to be present with our own selves, bear witness to our experience, and fully inhabit our inner lives.”
How to start a journal – and keep it up at The Guardian
“You don’t need to create a masterpiece; you just need to write or draw something in the journal every day to get into the swing of it.”
10 Famous Authors on the Importance of Keeping a Journal at Flavorwire
“Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it?” – Joan Didion
Keeping a Journal Can Change Your Life at The Change Blog
“You will get better if you practice, and your journal is an ideal place to do so – no-one will laugh at clumsy phrases or failed experimental pieces, and you can write about whatever topics inspire you the most.”
There is no question that we are all busy people with a multitude of things constantly vying for our attention. I know that sometimes we just don’t get the chance to put pen to paper as often as we would like, and so I’d been thinking about simple ways to keep the ink from drying up in our pens so to speak. When I recently came across a three year journal in a bookstore that prompted a single line to be written per day, my thought was, One line per day… that seems like something most people could accomplish if they really put their mind to it. It could also be a way for those who would like to begin writing, but don’t know how to start.
So here’s my creative prompt to you: Use a pen/pencil to always write as least one line per day in your favorite notepad or journal. The line can consist of anything – how you feel, something you’d like to accomplish or have just accomplished, a favorite quote, headline news – anything really. Just so long as you do it every day.
And what if we liked this exercise so much, that we were to put aside a separate notebook just for this prompt? One line per day: 365. A year in the life of (fill in the blank)
What do you think of this idea? Is it something you’d be willing to try? Already do? Have shared with other people?
What does it mean to be “grounded?”
The simplest way to describe it, is being fully present in your life as opposed to being distracted by past or future events. When we are “in our heads” and thinking about anything but the current moment, we lose the ability to operate from or with, our fullest mental capacities. You can think about this like the RAM on a computer. Whether it’s a computer or our brain, give it too many tasks to process at the same time and it will ultimately grow sluggish.
You don’t need to take a lengthy or expensive vacation to a remote island or mountain top to do this. One of the easiest ways to reconnect with your full creative self is just by taking a quiet walk in nature.
Try this: First find a quiet place to take a walk. If you have to get in the car or on a bus to get to such a place, do it – it will be worth it.
Next, turn off technology for at least an hour.
Then, start walking. Try to be fully aware of placing one foot in front of the other and not thinking about anything else. Breathe deeply. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. If your to-do list pops into your head, gently place it to the back burner while you bring your awareness back to one foot in front of the other.
If you have the opportunity, try taking your shoes off and allowing your bare feet to touch the earth – if only for a moment.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today (and everyday) is a good day to be grateful.
What are you grateful for?
If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say?
Would you offer kind words of support and encouragement? Talk about potential pitfalls? Tell yourself that things will only get better?
Sometimes (when I sit down and really think about it) I subscribe to the theory that all time is now and that every version of us is happening at the same moment- that if you offer love, coaching, advice etc., to a younger version of yourself, that it can positively affect who we are in the supposed here and now.
I happened upon this theory as one day when I happened to recall my failed audition for the junior high majorette squad. It wasn’t only baton twirling skills that I’d fallen short of, but also cheerleading, rifle squad, basketball… I’d noticed that I no longer take risks in that same way and I’d wished that I could tell her to not be discouraged and to keep trying.
And so I did.
For this week’s creative prompt, grab a pen and some paper to make a list of all the things you did this summer. It doesn’t matter whether or not they were connected to any specific vacation destination or event, just write down anything that you’d like to remember about the summer of 2014. Think people, places, foods, music, games, sports, nature…
Feel free to write an essay if you like, but individual words and simple phrases will work just as well.
My ferocious appetite for doodling kicked in about ten years ago when I worked in a cube. (Technically more of a triangle…) Doodling while sitting in on seemingly endless conference calls, my focus and recall was always better than if I sat there and just “paid attention.” My belief is that the benefits of doodling are similar to any other focused meditative practice; calming both to the mind and spirit.
Image courtesy of marianmachismo on Instagram.
Today’s creative prompt is going to be a little bit different. Are you ready?
If you are anything like me, and often travel the same route to get somewhere, you might occasionally notice a road that appears to lead somewhere interesting but isn’t able to be explored in that particular moment.
My challenge to you, is to take the time to go back to that location and take that road not yet travelled. Notice everything you can about the surroundings. Be playful and explore.
The when you get home, take just a bit more time to write down a few words about your experience. What did you see? What new things did you discover? Is it a place you’d like to go back to, or one that you never wish to visit again?
Please feel free to comment with your experiences. We’d love to know what you find.
Who doesn’t love food? Whether individual ingredients, meals you’ve been served, or something you’ve cooked up on your own, today’s creative writing prompt encourages you to make lists of the foods you love. You can list favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs, or spices. Favorite brands of a particular food item, as well as the shops where you bought them may also be included.
(Avocados, white nectarines, red pears, cardamom ice cream, and uni are a few of my favorites.)
Food memories will inevitably prompt additional memories and may even trigger emotions. (Did I ever tell you the story about my friend whose grandfather was a butcher? Years after he’d passed away, they found a long forgotten package of his hot dogs at the bottom of a freezer. Did they eat them? You bet.)
If you’ve ever thought that writing would be beneficial to your overall health but didn’t know where to start, these various creative writing prompts are designed to help you open up to the page.
No judgments, just write.
Image courtesy of carrotta_yeon on Instagram
Claudia McGill is one of my favorite contemporary artists because it was her colorful and whimsical art that first inspired me to take risks in my own art. She works with a variety of mixed media; including acrylic paint, collage and clay. Something I didn’t know about Claudia is that she uses Rhodia tablets. When she first learned that I worked for Rhodia, she told me about a zine she had been working on which included a short story about a train ride to Pittsburgh and how the story was based on notes she’d taken in a small Rhodia pad during her trip.
To read the story, click on the first image and then keep clicking to move from one page to the next.